First of all – you don’t need a new camera. These photography tips don’t cost you a cent, you don’t have to buy anything.
You will see that if you implement and follow these consistently, you have more than enough to do.
The good news is – these photography tips are – just like my article about the beginner mistakes – not technical “how to” tips, I don’t want to call them the “best tricks” and nevertheless – or maybe because of this – you will learn a lot if you take it to heart.
Rather, these photography tips are suggestions on how you can change your mindset and get much better photos without having to buy new cameras or other toys. Here we go:
A money-saving photography tip
Reduce your equipment (and be strict about it)
One of my favorite photography tips with which I start almost every conversation about suggestions for improvement, whether in the shoot camp or elsewhere: Use a camera, a lens, commit yourself to as little as possible and try to get the best out of it.
Photography has been in our trouser pockets since smartphones and the quality is increasing year after year. More equipment brings more possibilities and therefore very easily more chaos in the head. You lose focus on the essentials and the creativity in the photos decreases instead of increasing.
I’m not saying you don’t need anything but the camera in your host pocket. Of course, tools always have good reasons and for some applications a smartphone or a cheap camera may no longer be sufficient.
But less is more and too much can slow you down more than it delivers. No matter what you have with you, what counts is what you can do and what you can do with the equipment you have.
I also summarized a few tips and advice that I would have liked to have known from day one which is also one of the things I would have liked to have heard on day one:
It doesn’t matter whether you commit to 1 lens per month or one per year. Don’t go for a walk with too much equipment. Not only does this not necessarily help you take better photos, it may even prevent you from doing so.
Sometimes it’s extremely helpful to just stick to a single-lens camera and the basics of the exposure triangle. Here you can find the top photography workshops to join in 2022.
When your head says, “Oh, I could have the camera or the lens…” just stop it right away and ask yourself – “What could I do with what I have right now?”
At this point since also briefly mentioned – Canon, Nikon, Sony, Olympus, Leica, … please do not let yourself be carried away to become a “religious follower” of a camera brand. There is so much (mostly nonsense) discussed online and on every corner there is someone who can explain to you why the brand they use is the real deal.
Camera brands are definitely one of the most and pointless discussed things in photography 😉
The only right camera for you is the one that you are comfortable with and that does what you need it to do.
Become a better “storyteller”
Photographers don’t work with cameras. Yes, of course, we do that because it’s our tool. But just as a chef would not say that he works with knives and pots, but with ingredients and his creativity, we should not reduce ourselves to our cameras. Here you go for the best nude photography techniques.
What we really work with, what our actual ingredients are, is essentially limited to light (we’ll get to that) and storytelling.
On the one hand, a good photo is of course characterized by appealing image design, lighting, composition, colors (or contrasts in the case of black and white), etc. and on the other hand (in my opinion even more important) – it tells a good story.
It doesn’t matter whether it’s the expression of a person in a portrait or a reportage photo, even a successful landscape photo, a sports photo, a bird in flight … ideally they all tell a story, convey an expression, a moment, make us feel something.
This can, but does not have to be “obvious”.
It can also be enough to stimulate the viewer’s imagination so that the photo tells a different story for everyone who sees it.
But in any case, a good picture tells someone a story in some form 😉
So work on your own “storytelling”.
Work on recognizing for yourself which stories in photos of others resonate with you. Find out why a photo appeals to you or why it doesn’t appeal to you. Discover the storyteller in you and try to let that flow into your photos.
Respect every motif, no matter how inconspicuous, and make a rock star out of it
Too often we talk our way out of lack of motives.
Far too often.
“Well, there wasn’t anything nice there”… There are motifs everywhere and it’s entirely up to you and your head what you make of it. The more inconspicuous a motif may be, the more opportunities you have to grow from it.
Face the challenge even more if you think the motive would be “bad”, or if it didn’t exist at all. That’s where you have the most potential to become a better photographer.
Go through the world with open eyes and find colors, shapes and motifs where others don’t see them. That is exactly what makes the difference.
The better you practice this, the more your photography will grow from it.
And speaking of “walking” – keep moving. Standing in one place we don’t really see a scene, it’s only when we move that things come out that were previously hidden.
You don’t find new perspectives by stopping in one place and thinking about it, but by moving. Standing still and “zooming” is one of the most painful beginner mistakes that some people make for a very long time 😉 This applies to life as well as to photography.
Pounce on the supposedly “bad light” and make the best of it
Shoot campers know how much I insist: There is no “bad light”. There is only light!
Lots of light, little light, soft, hard, in all colors and variations. It’s easy to talk your way out of the fact that the light is bad and there’s nothing you can do about it. But it’s also wrong and won’t get you anywhere.
If you can use your flash properly, then there will never be “bad light” again, because you can make something out of every situation.
And even without a flash, don’t make excuses about the “bad light” that’s present.
Just try the opposite.
Challenging lighting situations? Ask yourself what you could do with the situation anyway (or because of it). The ISO of your camera not high enough? get some light. Maybe a flashlight, a lighter, a smartphone screen… Make the best of the situation and still – or maybe because of it – take a great photo of it.
5th Category Photography Tips you probably didn’t expect here: Tape off your camera screen!
An exercise and one of my favorite photography tips that I’ve been very happy to pull out of my sleeve at studio workshops since 2009.
Unusual, I know that. But it works now.
Gaffer tape (or something softer that won’t stick to the camera for years) onto the LCD screen and you’re done. (Of course, this only works for cameras with their own viewfinder 😉 “But… But… I can’t see anything anymore…” Exactly! You have to think because you can’t see anything anymore 😉
I do this to myself regularly too. Because it really helps to change and reverse the thought paths in your head. Of course it is an advantage to be able to control everything immediately on the screen. But the coziness of DSLR cameras with screens sometimes makes us careless. Just pull the trigger, after all you can check straight away whether the result fits.
If you practice thinking first, what you’re doing and why, and then shooting, you’ll save yourself tons of time and frustration in photography in the long run.
But honestly, not in every situation you “don’t have time to think about the settings beforehand”. Very often you just don’t want to. do it anyway. It will train your thought process before pulling the trigger, this will benefit you tremendously over time and it will become less and less tiring. But it makes you a better photographer in the long run.